An educational electronic hobby kit that lets you explore the sounds of ambient light. Designed to be portable and easy to use, this kit lets you build a photodiode amplifier with automatic gain control and headphones output.
Learn more about photodiode amplifiers at our new sister website, www.lite2sound.com!
Lite2Sound™ PX made its debut as a Piksel [X] workshop, and is now in stock at $49 (kit), $74 (assembled and tested). Here’s how to order.
Plug in your headphones and 9V battery and go exploring. Measuring 8 x 4.5 x 4 cm and weighing 80g with battery, it fits your pocket. The sliding volume control lever is the only adjustment necessary. Lite2Sound PX’s auto-gain circuit accommodates changes in brightness so you don’t have to tweak or fiddle with anything.
The kit contains the PCB, all of the parts needed, and printed assembly instructions. Previous experience with soldering and kit-building is recommended, but not necessary.
- Soldering iron with good quality tip
- Rosin-core solder … 0.032″ diameter suggested
- Wire cutters, flush cutting type
- Small Philips screwdriver
- Needle-nose pliers
- Work light
- Magnifier (optional)
Lite2Sound PX Builders’ Guide 1.5
Lite2Sound™ is a portable sensing device that extracts audio from ambient light. Not a synthesizer, more like a microphone that detects a hidden layer of your environment.
Lite2Sound reveals unusual sounds by responding to rapid but invisible changes in brightness. A sensitive amplifier boosts this information to audio level and delivers it to your headphones or line input, and can drive a speaker directly with its built-in 1-watt amp.
Beyond the ubiquitous mains hum transmitted by lighting, and the static hiss of sunlight, you can find many sounds of different character being produced by high technology.
In technology-saturated spaces, musical chords emerge and fade as luminous sources harmonize together into unintended soundscapes.
Suggested listening: metro commute… arcade… carnival midway… highway at night… high street… anywhere you find bold, bright electronic lighting! Results are usually best at night.
Even nature creates content for Lite2Sound’s reception, if one looks in the right places. Its purpose is to reward your curiosity. Some highlights from a collection of photodiode recordings are presented below.
The ambient household: personal electronics
CD player fluorescent display
CRT and optical mouse
IR remote control (TV-b-Gone)
Disk activity light
Phone screen 1
Phone screen 2
Natural sounds: sunlight reflections
Tiny insects swarming and air turbulence
Lake oscillations 1
Lake oscillations 2
Found sound collage: the nocturnal urban environment
Downtown lights collage
Air turbulence as car passes stationary light
Laser pointer reflections from textured or vibrating solid objects
Laser reflecting from 33rpm record – music
Laser reflecting from 33rpm record – speech
Adding a convex lens for ‘telephoto’ photodiode recording
Sunlight reflections from percussion instruments
Sunlight reflecting from 16″ crash cymbal
Sunlight reflecting from 22″ ride cymbal
Sunlight reflecting from snare drum head
Lite2Sound™ is a trademark of Rare Waves LLC